Is It Time for a Check-up?
3. Where is the information to drive your organization?
Is your data shared or is it separated by department in silos? Has anyone ever taken an inventory of your organization’s data needs? Is there a central database or data warehouse in place now? Are you collecting data from all areas of operation, including your various departments, chapters and volunteers?
Check to see if you have missing pieces of information scattered throughout your operation. A healthy database environment should have all the needed data in one central location acting as the data warehouse — the heart of the organization.
4. How much data do you have?
In most cases, a multitude of databases exist simultaneously and are scattered throughout the organization. These run the gamut from off-the-shelf software to custom-built fundraising systems, to assorted data in other departments and from information stored in shoeboxes, closets, desk drawers and Excel spreadsheets, to data collected by your chapters throughout the country.
All said, how much data do you have? How many records? Take a tally of your total data “discovery” and check this against your current database system. Approximately how many people have participated in your programs since its beginnings? Where are these early records stored? Have they ever been amalgamated? Have they ever been examined and cleaned?
5. How good is your data?
The ability to assess and access your data is key. Is your organization able to capture all information collected from its full range of activities (mail, phone, personal contacts, e-mail and Web) for inclusion in a centralized database system? If you’re already doing this, just how accurate is your data?
Taking an inventory of your information involves running a data audit. Pull off the first thousand records in your database. Look for duplicate names and addresses, remove incorrect addresses, and standardize your rules for data capture.